Found on the northern edge of Spain’s Costa Brava in the heart of Dalí country, Hostal Empúries has recently furnished its way to the top end of eco-chice tourism, becoming one of the leading exhibitions of sustainable architecture in Europe. I visited the hotel earlier this summer during a cycling trip in Catalonia on the recommendation that the hotel was bike-friendly. While the hostel’s environmental innovations are credible, I was particularly impressed by their efforts to boost a social project into their responsibility portfolio, adding to the intrigue of a visually expressive hotel.
Environmental and Social Responsibility
As Europe’s first hotel to receive a gold LEED certificate, Hostal Empúries has a reputation to live up to, especially during its new developments in the direction of the spa. Overall, the hotel produces 30% of the energy it consumes, taking 100% of the remainder from renewable sources. Many of the herbs and greens available at the restaurant are grown in the vegetable patches around the hotel, reemphasising a commitment to reduce the enterprise’s carbon output. Meanwhile in sourcing materials for construction, architects followed the ‘Cradle to Cradle’ principle, ensuring that materials were selected on the basis that they could be used again beyond the hotel, and eventually be retuned back to a new form of base material.
On the social side, Hostal Empúries have teamed up with the Laafi Association to build a comprehensive public centre for 200 children in Burkino Faso. To fund this, the hotel promises to match every €1 donated by a guest in the 1=2 campaign. The hotel further encourages employees to give 0.5% of their salary towards the project. For more information download the newsletter.
Hostal Empúries is divided between the old side, previously used to accommodate archeologists servicing the nearby Romain ruins, and the new, designer extension that links to a gym and spa complex. The rooms in the old part of the hotel are varied in size and offer views over the sea and onto the walled herb garden. The collection of suites in the new side of the hotel are more regimented, offering options for for couples and groups of three or four. It’s worth noting that the seaside rooms on old side of the hotel are more elevated than the bungolow-styled annex so offer better views of the sea, with a more traditionally Spanish and homely feel.
The Portitlox is hotel’s onsite restaurant and provides guests and visitors with healthy mediterranean meals next door to the less formal Bistro del Mar. When combined, the bistro and the restaurant offer a real asset to the hotel and especially to those looking for a car-free retreat.
Swim, cycle, hike then spa
Just several metres from the sea and Portitlox beach, Hostal Empúries is an obvious place to base yourself for some open water swimming. The hotel does offer a pair of short indoor lanes but the real excitement shall be in the blue beyond your door.
For cyclists the hotel can organise guided half-day trips into the L’Emporda region and provide kit rental from €37 per person per day. If you want to head out independently, look to the Pyrenees and rent a hybrid, road or mountain bike from Bike Breaks in Girona.
Hiking is run in a similar format to cycling in that you can take a guide out to the coves, coasts and castles of the area. A day’s guided hiking comes to €20 per person. The hotel has brought together a single day experience deal including 1 night’s stay, dinner, breakfast and 3 hours hiking at €238 for a couple and either €96.50 for additional adults, or €71.50 for additional children if they too stay the night.
The hotel can also take you out on snorkelling or scuba experiences, and of course offer you the word-class spa facilities for your enjoyment. Yoga classes will soon be available as soon as the final extension is complete.
Contact Hotel Empúries by telephone at +34 972 77 02 02 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.